Photo Courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielder Joe Cole delivered a second half equalizer to help the side remain unbeaten at home this season and earn a 2-2 draw in new Head Coach Neill Collins’ debut on the sidelines against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in front of 6,202 fans at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday. Lance Rozeboom put the hosts in front early, converting off a feed from Alex Morrell following a short corner in the third minute. The advantage stood until the 20th minute when Max Lachowecki deflected the rebound of a Romeo Parkes effort into the Tampa Bay net despite the initial stop from Rowdies goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald. Parkes added a second for the Riverhounds 10 minutes later, sending the side into the break with a lead over a Rowdies side that had scored nine goals without conceding a single time in three home appearances entering the contest. Cole’s strike came just under 15 minutes into the second period, helping the squad avoid what would have been a fifth defeat in six games.
3’ – TBR – Lance Rozeboom (Alex Morrell)
20’ – PGH – Max Lachowecki (own goal)
30’ – PGH – Romeo Parkes (Kenardo Forbes)
59 ‘ – TBR – Joe Cole
Three Things That Matter:
1. Despite conceding the equalizer, Pittsburgh remains the lone unbeaten team to this point in the USL season, impressively managing the gauntlet that a trip to Al Lang Stadium has proven to be. Under first-year head coach Bob Lilley, the Riverhounds have proven to be one of the toughest defensive sides in the USL with Saturday marking just the second time the side has allowed more than one goal this season.
2. The stalemate is a first this season for a Rowdies side that had been in the midst of a feast or famine start to the campaign. Tampa Bay had won each game in which the club found the back of the net at least one time through nine outings entering the night. The last team in the Eastern Conference to record a draw this season, the Rowdies have scored first in all five of their wins while recording three shutouts and allowing a total of two goals in those games compared to 13 goals conceded in their other six matches.
3. The result broke a four-match home winning streak for the Rowdies in the regular season dating back to last year and the two goals recorded by Pittsburgh stand as the first two scored by a visiting team at Al Lang Stadium in 2018. With a trip to Toronto next week as the last remaining obstacle between Tampa Bay and a stretch that sees the side play five of its next six at home, new Head Coach Neill Collins and company will look to make a push up the standings heading into the summer.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kenardo Forbes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – The midfield stalwart recorded an assist on the goal that helped the Riverhounds walk away with a road point while adding four tackles and an interception.
Tampa Bay Rowdies at Toronto FC II – May 26, 2 p.m. ET, BMO Field
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Penn FC – May 26, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium